Donald Trump reportedly grew confused and wandered away during a joint press conference in Israel with Benjamin Netanyahu, with the viral video clip sparking debate over whether the president could be suffering from dementia.
Trump has been plagued by reports of fatigue and bouts of confusion during his first major trip abroad, a trip that has taken him and a large contingent of his administration through the Middle East and Europe. Earlier in the trip, Trump had stumbled during a speech on Islam, delivering the phrase “Islamic extremism” rather than what had been written in the speech, “Islamist extremism.”
A senior White House official later told CNN that Trump had been traveling and was “just an exhausted guy” when he delivered the speech. The White House noted that Trump had been working on the speech during his 14-hour flight to the Middle East and was tired when he arrived.
As Salon pointed out, Trump frequently attacked his political opponents by claiming they didn’t have the energy necessary to serve as president. He famously chided Jeb Bush as having “low energy” and frequently attacked Hillary Clinton’s stamina, the report added.
“She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina, I said she doesn’t have the stamina, and I don’t believe she does have the stamina,” Trump said of Clinton during the presidential debate.
This fatigue seemed to come to a head during Trump’s time in the Middle East, with Trump reportedly altering the schedule on the fly to remove events and shorten visits.
One report claimed that Donald Trump grew confused while at a press conference in Israel and did not know where he was, then stood up and wandered off. Video that matched the description of events also started circulating online, though there was no confirmation whether Trump had actually grown confused or if he walked away for some other reason.
Reports say that Trump became confused and didn't know where he was in Israel, and in the middle of Press conference "wandered off." pic.twitter.com/8cH2uZVU79— פסח / pesach lattin (@pacelattin) May 26, 2017
PoliticusUSA had a slightly longer version of the clip, showing staff members stopping Trump and directing him back for a handshake and photo op. Trump still appeared to have a confused look on his face.
The strange appearance also led to speculation that Donald Trump could be operating on some reduced mental capacity. The political blog Crooks & Liars openly questioned whether Trump “has inherited his father’s Alzheimer’s disease,” a reference to the disease suffered by Fred Trump in his final years.
The incident where Donald Trump appeared to grow confused and walk off during the press conference in Israel is not the first incident to spark these discussions. Several other articles have questioned whether Trump could be suffering from dementia, though critics dismiss these reports as thinly veiled political attacks.
As The Root pointed out in an article published in early May — after Trump gave a series of bizarre interviews — some mental health experts believe that Trump could be suffering from dementia or something like it.
“Rice University history professor and leading presidential historians Douglas Brinkley analyzed Trump’s interviews from over the last few days. Brinkley, who has read hundreds—if not thousands—of transcripts and presidential interviews, concluded that Trump seemed to have a ‘confused mental state,’ the likes of which he has never seen. ‘It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,’ Brinkley told Politico magazine.”
There are still others who say the video appearing to show Donald Trump getting confused and wandering away might not be a sign of dementia but exactly what the White House hinted at — a man in his early 70s growing exhausted at the rigors of international travel.
[Featured Image by Olivier Doulieryl/Pool/Getty Images]